November 01, 2002

A Leading Light of Russian Satire



October 28 is the centenary of the illustrious actor of stage and screen, Erast Pavlovich Garin (1902-1980). Born in Ryazan, he joined the Red Army in 1919 after finishing at the Ryazan gymnasium, acting in the garrison theater in Ryazan and in the First Independent Theater of the Red Army.

His professional life changed in 1921, when he enrolled in Vsevolod Meyerhold’s studio, going on to become one of that great director’s favorite and most trusted students—Meyerhold once said that Garin had “a ministerial mind.”

Garin’s first big role was actually seven—when he played as many characters in the play “D.E.”, based on Ilya Ehrenburg’s The D.E. Trust. Even this early, he demonstrated an amazing versalility and plasticity of character and mimicry, an incredible control over voice, emotion and action—particularly in playing eccentric, buffoonish characters. It was a talent that would later come to be called “in the Garin style.”


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